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European Union aims to reduce car emissions by 50%

The Environment Council, meeting on 24-25 March 1994, is expected to adopt a new Directive on car emissions which is based on the Commission's proposal of December 1992 and will substantially reduce the emission levels of a range of noxious pollutants.

The reduction in car em...
The Environment Council, meeting on 24-25 March 1994, is expected to adopt a new Directive on car emissions which is based on the Commission's proposal of December 1992 and will substantially reduce the emission levels of a range of noxious pollutants.

The reduction in car emissions resulting from the new measures will be approximately 50% compared to current levels and will bring EU standards closer to those of the US. These new standards will apply for all vehicle types from 1996 and for all new vehicles from 1997. The Directive also makes provision for the use of tax incentives by Member States to encourage the early introduction of the standards before these dates.

The Council's common position ensures not only that strict environmental standards will be enforced in the European Union for car emissions but will also create a stable regulatory environment for new standards needed to carry out the important restructuring necessary to ensure the future competitiveness of the industry. This was one of the key themes of the Auto Forum of 1 March 1994 organized by the European Commission and the European Parliament.

The Commission has also established a framework of possible measures to reduce car emissions for a future proposal which includes improvement in engine technologies, reformulated fuels, better inspection and maintenance of vehicles, and better traffic management. These measures will be based on the results of the "Auto-Oil" research programme which is a joint collaboration between the European automobile and petroleum industries (ACEA and EUROPIA respectively) in conjunction with the Commission. Work is already underway in this programme to analyse the effects on car emissions that can result from a combination of new engine technologies and reformulated fuels.

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